Born in Venice, Marco learned the mercantile trade from his father and his uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, who travelled through Asia and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, exploring many places along the Silk Road until they reached Cathay (China). They were received by the royal court of Kublai Khan, who was impressed by Marco's intelligence and humility. Marco was appointed to serve as Khan's foreign emissary to India and Burma, and he was sent on many diplomatic missions throughout the empire. As part of this appointment, Marco also traveled extensively inside China, living in the emperor's lands for 17 years and seeing many things that had previously been unknown to Europeans. Around 1292, the Polos also offered to accompany the Mongol princess Kököchin in Persia, arriving around the following two years. After leaving the princess, they travelled overland to Constantinople and then to Venice, returning home after 24 years. At this time, Venice was at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned and dictated his stories to Rustichello da Pisa, a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married, and had three children. He died in 1324 and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Venice.